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Posted on 12/20/2020

Healthy (and Pandemic Friendly) New Year's Resolutions for Couples

Healthy (and Pandemic Friendly) New Year's Resolutions for Couples

Change is hard. For many, New Year’s resolutions are nothing more but change with the risk of public embarrassment. A glib to-do list for people to show off on the turn of the New Year and pretend never existed by the following month. Whether that be dieting, exercise, or the promise to do the things that make you happy, many can’t seem to make the landing stick. 

Of course, even the simplest of tasks can feel overwhelming when going through them alone. Which is why New Year’s resolutions can be one of the best activities for couples to go do together. Working through that list together will naturally create moments of bonding, inspiration, strengthening communication, and understanding each other’s desires and fears. But most importantly, it produces more accountability. It’s hard to sweep all your broken promises under the rug when your partner is also relying on you to endure in order for them to succeed. 

It should be said that not all resolutions are made equal. Some are more easily accomplished alone. Meditation, learning an instrument, or perhaps activities that require deep concentration or effort are better left for when you’re looking to get some you time. Also, things such as public speaking or running in a public marathon would make more sense to attempt outside of the current pandemic. Here are some of the healthiest (and pandemic friendly) resolutions to make as a couple:

 

Tech, Social Media, and Digital Detox Breaks 

Not only has the last ten years has seen a drastic spike in smartphone and social media usage, but it has highly correlated with depression, loneliness, anxiety, poor sleep quality, and self-esteem. It’s the easiest way to waste time and yank you away from all the things you find important in life. If you find that you or your partner are suffering from any of these ailments, try to schedule tech and social media-free times. It’s best to first track when and how long your usage is. Most smartphones have apps that track activities, but if for whatever reason you’re not satisfied, click here for a recently updated list of the best apps. 

Once you and your partner identify your tech and social media habits, try your best to schedule breaks around these times. It’s best to eventually decrease your social media use to around 30 minutes a day. This has been found to be the most effective time at significantly improving life satisfaction and well-being. Not to mention the lack of instant gratification will allow you to reset the brain while dopamine fasting. If you and your partner are finding it difficult to make yourselves accountable, there are anti-social media apps designs to curb your addiction. The majority appear free and simple to use if you’re not too tech-savvy. 

 

Exercise

If you were unable to digitally detox, exercise is another great way to stave off depression, anxiety, appetite, and poor sleep. Research points out that exercising can significantly improve mental health by releasing serotonin (a hormone that stabilizes our feelings of depression and happiness) and dopamine into the blood. The interesting part comes when you exercise with a loved one. Symptoms of physiological arousal come about during exercise. These symptoms closely mimic many of the exciting thrills of romance and courtship. Two people exercising together often times conflate and misattribute these physical symptoms (elevated bpm, sweating) from exercising as a romantic interest in their exercise partner. If there seemed to be a lack of romance or allure between you and your partner, this might be the perfect start for you. 

Communicate your schedules, expectations, willingness, and skill. What may be easy for you physically can be demanding for your partner. Or what free time they have may not always play well with responsibilities. With that being said, there are many exercises and physical activities you can do together. Try jogging through your neighborhood or weekly hikes at a nearby trail. If you’re not outdoorsy and are on a budget, peruse this website with exercises specifically for couples.            


Spend Less Money

Marriages and relationships can fall apart for a number of reasons. However, some studies suggest that money and finances are some of the top issues that come up when spiraling towards a split. This does not always mean a lack of money. Sometimes these issues can arise when cash is plentiful, but there are conflicting spending styles and values of money. For example, one person may be a big spender or gambler while another felt more comfortable saving their money for a rainy day. If a person feels that their partner was spending money in a way they found reckless or foolish, it greatly increased the chance of divorce to 45%

New Year’s resolution could be a way to get ahead of this problem completely. Whether or not you and your partner value money the same way, you can at least get on the same page on how to act with what money you have. Because of the pandemic, unemployment has reached an all-time high, as of Dec. 4th, almost 26 million adults (12% of all adults) have reported that they did not have enough food to eat within the last seven days, and 1 in every 6 adult renters were behind on their rent. Tackling these issues together can help strengthen the relationship as well as tackle some very real and practical problems that you may be experiencing currently. 

 

Learn to Let Go and Accept Differences

This is the first and only suggestion on the list that is a shift in perspective. It exists in the abstract and can be a bit harder for you and your partner to actualize. There are so many factors in our life that are completely out of our control. This applies to our individual lives, our inner lives, and our lives that we share with our loved ones. Learning to let go of parts of our everyday experience that do not fit our specific vision is not only a major predictor of life satisfaction, but is equally important as our ability to effect control. Learning this viewpoint with a partner allows us to be happier with ourselves as well as alleviate any unrealistic expectations that we place on our partner. 

In the end, it is fine if you and your partner did not find success in these resolutions. Maybe it was too difficult or you found yourselves not caring two weeks into the commitment. Because even though you might have failed, at least you’ve failed together.      

Written by Laxon Sumawiganda - A staff writer for The National Registry of Marriage Friendly Therapists. Laxon is a father, husband, psychology student, writer, musician and much more. You can read more of Laxon's thoughts by following our social media account, there are account links at the bottom of this page. We have experienced mental health professionals available in almost every state to help you address a wide range of issues that are affecting you and your loved ones. Click here to visit our homepage.

           

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